Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
The Long Shadow Home An interactive story where you are the protagonist.
It's hard to breath. Difficult. You cough, yet no air escapes. All you see is darkness. Your face is hot. You slowly lift your head up from the pillow it was just buried in and open your eyes. Everything is blurry. You wipe your eyes and then sit up at the edge of your bed. You clear your throat and then yawn into your fist. You look to your left, down at your table trying to make out the clock. The bright red numbers of the digital clock are too fuzzy for you to read. You take your glasses off the table and put them on. They are filthy. Things are still a little blurry, but your vision is now focused enough to read the numbers. "10:09".
You're late. You stand and walk out of your room. You are supposed to pick up Paul at 11. It's Saturday. He's yours for the weekend. You're not going to make it there by then. Sarah is gonna bitch at you again. Fuck her. She's right though. Fuck it.
You go to the kitchen sink and move the dirty glasses to the side so you can wash your glasses off. As you dry them with a paper towel you stare out your window. It's cloudy out. Grey sky. You rush to the bathroom and put your glasses on. That's better. Your place is a mess, but not too bad. No time to pick it up now. Paul won't mind. You quickly wash your face and then get dressed with your tooth brush in your mouth. You grab your keys, wallet, cell phone and jacket as you prepare to leave. You lock up and then go down the hall of the apartment complex. You go to the elevator, but it's on the fifth floor. Not worth the wait. You take the stairs down one flight and head out on the street. You get into your car and turn on the ignition. A little jumpy, but it works. It better work after what you paid after last week's repair. You drive to Sarah's house still waking up. You turn on the radio and widen your eyes trying to shake your exhaustion.
Radio: --en two m------ -ow
Radio: and t---- -- s---- -o si--- -f si- ---r o-- ---ie Reyes. Meanwhile, conditions worsen in Libya as-
Screw it. You just change the channel to some music and continue the drive.
You arrive at Sarah's house at 11:29. Not bad timing all things considered. You pull up on the curb and get out, heading towards the door. Before you can reach the front stoop the door opens and Sarah is standing there giving you a nasty look.
Sarah: You're late.
You keep your mouth shut. Best not to start anything. You walk inside and stand in the door way. Richard walks out of the kitchen all dressed up in a suit and tie.
Richard: Honey have you seen my keys?!
He shouts to Sarah before noticing you.
Richard: Oh. Hey Jack.
Jack: Hey Richard.
Sarah: They're on the mantle!
Sarah shouts from up stairs. Rich walks into the living room out of your sight. You look around real quick while waiting for Paul. You miss this house.
Paul: Hi Dad.
You are caught looking up at the pictures on the wall and quickly turn to see Paul coming down the stair with Sarah behind him.
Jack: Hey Paulie. Ready to go?
Hey stands at the door with his backpack on and a small smile on his face. You reach out to Sarah at the bottom of the stair and take Paul's duffel bag off her hands. She walks towards Paul.
Sarah: Now you be good and be sure to finish your math homework.
Paul: I know.
He replies while rolling his eyes.
Sarah: Hey. Don't give me that. Now be sure to call me alright?
Sarah: I love you.
Paul: Love you Mom.
Sarah bends down and kisses Paulie. She smiles at him and then her eyes quickly shift upwards at you and the smile disappears. You open the front door and Paul walks outside. You go to follow, but Sarah chimes in.
You turn around to face Sarah as Paul heads to the car.
Sarah: You're all set for three weeks?
Jack: Yeah I took my vacation week.
Sarah: Jesus Jack, your breath stinks of booze.
Sarah: We're leaving Friday night and we'll be back the first around noon.
Jack: Is that a Monday?
Sarah: No it's a Sunday.
Sarah: Now we need to be at the airport by 3 so come pick him up around 1-ish.
She sighs and looks over your shoulder at Paul standing at the car.
Sarah: Make sure he does his homework.
Jack: He'll do it.
Sarah: And clean yourself up for Christ's sake. He only sees you on the weekend. Would it kill ya to shave?
You think about everything you want to say, but keep it all inside. You settle for giving her a mean look.
Richard: Alright. I'm leaving. Sarah?
Rich walks in with his coat on and brief case in one hand and his iPhone in his other, staring at it. Sarah turns to him and stares as he looks up from his phone. The look on his face says he just realized you two were arguing again. He looks at you.
Richard: See ya Jack.
You turn and shut the door getting out of there. You need to remember to write down "Pick up Paul @ 1" on your calender when you get home. She bitches about him being with you on the weekend, but they want to take a vacation then she's got no problem dumping him with you for a full week. Florida. They're going to Florida and you have to take your vacation time so you can watch Paul. Oh well. It'll be nice to spend that time with him as long as it doesn't kill you.
You walk to the car and open it up for him. You get in and toss his bag in the back while he shuffles around in his backpack. You start the car no problem. Thank God. Last thing you need is getting stuck there for another minute. You take off as Paul pulls out his DS. You're going to suggest he do his homework in the car, but reconsider. As you drive back to your apartment you talk with Paul. You ask the general questions, "How are you? How is school?" and he gives the normal answers, "Fine. Good. Alright." You listen to the radio as he plays away.
You get home and exit the car, heading towards the door with the duffel bag and backpack as Paul continues to play. You enter the building and then go to take the stairs, but Paul objects.
Paul: No the elevator.
Why not? You take the elevator up to the second floor and go to your apartment, number 11. You see Mrs. O'Leary heading out. Nice old lady.
Mrs. O'Leary: Hello Mr. Austin.
Jack: Hi, Mrs. O'Leary.
Mrs. O'Leary: And hello to you too.
She says to Paul. Paul is nice enough to look up from his game and smile.
You unlock your door and head inside with Paulie who closes his game and goes to his room. You set everything down on the little desk you have set up for him and then go to the kitchen to write down the reminder on the calender. Paul's in his room unpacking his stuff as you stand in the kitchen and think about what to do.
Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:04 am
Last edited by GameGodOfAll on Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
You decide to ask Paul if he wants to play a video game with you. He usually enjoys playing on that Wii he keeps in his room.
You walk in the hall and call for him.
Jack: Hey Paul.
No answer. Typical. Probably back to playing his DS or something.
You go into the hall and then approach his room. The door is almost shut with just a crack open.
Jack: Paul do you want to pl-
You enter the room and heís not there.
His DS is on his desk meaning he was in here. No sign of him though.
You know he went in here. You poke your head out into the hall and see that your room is shut and the bathroom is wide open. Not in there. What the hell?
Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:31 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
Paul must have went somewhere. You turn around and go into your room. What a mess. The sheets are hanging off the bed, there are a few beer bottles around, theres a paper bag crumbled up next to the tv that you canít even remember what it contained at one time. You actually hope Paul's not in here because you donít want him to see how dirty things are. You look around making sure Paul isnít snooping behind your drawer or anything, but not such luck.
You go back into the hallway thinking where he could possibly be. You shut the door behind you to hide the mess and then walk into the bathroom and yeahÖheís not there either. You even move the shower curtain to make sure. Damn.
You walk back into the living room and the kitchen tilting your head around to check behind the couch and other furniture. Nothing. Now you are starting to get nervous. He was out of your sight for two seconds. You begin to breath faster. You go back to the living room.
You project your voice this time so he can hear you, yet you donít want to shout. You walk back into the hallway and then back into his room. Nothing. Where th-
WHAT THE FUCK?!
You jump and turn around and see Paul laughing there infront of closet.
Paul: April fools!
Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:47 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
That nearly scared the piss out of you. You didnít even realize it was April Fools. You close your eyes, place your hand on your chest and try to slow down your rapid breathing. Paul thinks its hilarious.
You calm down and canít help but smirk and chuckle a little yourself.
Jack: PaulÖ.donít do that. Okay?
Paul continues to laugh.
Jack: I mean it Paul. Thatís not funny. You scared me.
He tries to control his laughter more, but still giggles as he apologizes.
Paul: Sorry Dad. Hehe.
You roll your eyes and shake your head at him.
Jack: You want to play a video game or something?
Jack: Alright you set it up and I'll be play in a sec. Ok?
Paul walks over to his television and Wii and starts everything up. You exit his room and then breath a sigh of relief as he got you good there. You go get the bags from the other room, while picking up a few things of trash along the way. You bring the bags into Paul's room and start putting his things in their places.
Jack: What are we playing? Smash Brothers?
Paul: No, Mario Kart.
You actually prefer Smash Brothers. He gets everything set up and then you sit down and play a few races with him. As you play you watch him as he seems to light up with joy. Brings you back to better times.
After all the races are done Paul wins. It was closer than usual though. You ended up in fifth place. You stand up and place the controller down.
Jack: Alright. That's enough for now.
Paul: Can I have lunch now? I'm starving.
Jack: Sure. You want me to make you a sandwich?
Paul shakes his head "Yes". Good thing too because you don't really have much else for him.
You go to the kitchen as he continues to play and fix him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You then grab the milk and smell it. Still good. Then you look for a clean glass and can't find one. You look at the stack in the sink and next to the sink and sigh. You should have cleaned this up before.
You rinse out a glass and dry it out good. You smell to make sure it doesn't smell like vodka or anything. Good. You pour the milk and then bring Paul his lunch in his room. He's still playing Mario Kart.
Jack: Here you go Paul.
Paul: Thanks Dad.
He does not take his eyes off the screen.
You decide to let him enjoy his meal and play his games while you go fix yourself something. You grab the last piece of a pizza from the fridge and toss it into the microwave. As it's going around you stop and realize that you didn't have pizza last night. When did you get take out? Not Thursday... Wednesday? No. Tuesday. Is that pizza still good? The microwave stops and you take the pizza out. Only one way to find out. You bite into it and yeah it tastes alright. You take your slice and then go to the fridge for a drink.
You see the beers and grab one, but then you stop. No, not right now. As much as you want that beer you put it back and get a can of Pepsi. You close the fridge, eat your pizza and drink your soda as you go into the living room and turn on the TV. The game's not on yet, but you flick around until you find something good. Instead of sitting down to eat, you walk around picking up some more trash, making the place more presentable for your son.
Time goes by and the game comes on. It's the first day of the season and even though your team is opening on the road you watch all the celebrations. After the place is clean enough you sit down and watch the game. Paul comes in and goes to the kitchen. You know what he's looking for. After about a minute he comes to you.
Paul: Dad can I have some cookies?
Yeah why not. You didn't give him dessert. You go to the kitchen and get him four oreos. He takes them back to his room and you watch some more of the game.
At 5:30pm you decide itís best to start dinner. You wanted to order a sub or something good for Paul, but you really donít have the money right now. Instead you make some spaghetti thatís done by a little after 6:00pm. You call Paulie in for dinner and sit at the kitchen table to eat together.
Heís rather quiet. You think about something to talk to him about.
Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:30 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
Jack: SoÖany ideas on what you want to do tomorrow?
You break the silence and Paul thinks about it.
Paul: Ummmm. Can we go see Rango?
Jack: Sorry Paul, but I just donít the money to go to the movies right now.
The words are hard to even say as Paul looks disappointed. If only you had the money. You really don't though. You've got about 30 bucks in your pocket and only about $500 in your bank account after paying all the bills. After living expenses and child support payments, the only things you can afford are gas money and alcohol. You try to cut back on that too, but it's becoming more and more of a necessity.
Paulie slurps some of the angel hair pasta still looking sad about your answer. You feel bad, so you try to cheer him up.
Jack: How about you and me go to the park tomorrow? Hit a few balls and play catch?
That cheered him up and he smiles a little, but you can tell that he still wanted to see the movie.
Jack: Maybe we can go to the movies next week when I pick you up.
Paul: Cool. Jimmy saw Rango last week and said it was really funny.
Jack: Well we'll see what I can do.
You already regret it. You know it will be another let down if you can't come through. The movies can be pricey. Over $10 for tickets, another $10 for snacks and that damn Cinema charges for parking now. It's bullshit.
Jack: How is Jimmy?
Jimmy is Paul's best friend.
Jack: Yeah, hows school?
Jack: How are you doing in your classes?
Jack: So everything is good then?
You say with a bit of sarcasm, after being a little annoyed with the same one word answer.
Jack: You do anything interesting in school this week?
Another pause in conversation as you can't help but let out a sigh. Paul picks up on the sigh.
Paul: Well we did start painting in art class this week.
Jack: Oh yeah? What'd you paint.
Paul: Some stuff. We have a project where we have to uh, paint something once and then we paint it again later to see if we get better.
Jack: So what did you paint?
Paul: A tree.
Jack: Any good?
Paul: It's alright.
Jack: Do you have it with you?
Paul: I think it might be in my backpack.
Jack: Maybe I can see it later.
Paul: K. I'm done can I have dessert?
You look at his plate and see that there is only a little spaghetti left.
You're done too. You take your last fork-full of pasta and finish it off, clearing your plate. You get up, place the dishes in the sink and go into the cabinet taking out some cupcakes you got a few days ago from the store. You give Paul one and then he's off to his room to enjoy it.
You get back to your game which is almost over. You sit and watch the rest of it while craving a cold beer. You resist though.
After the game it's 7:30 pm. You go check in on Paul and he's watching a cartoon and playing with his action figures. His bed time is usually 8.
Jack: Shouldn't you be getting ready for bed?
Paul: Aw come on Dad. It's Saturday. Can't I stay up?
You sigh and stare down at Paul looking up at you with a sad look.
Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:56 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
Jack: If you want you can come out in the front room and watch TV with me.
Paul doesnít really like that offer.
Jack: That or bed kiddo.
Jack: Fine, but go brush up and wash up. Alright?
He goes off to the bathroom and gets his in pajamas as you turn his TV off and make sure his room is ready for the night. You then go out into the living room and turn on something kid friendly. Paul comes in and sits beside you on the couch. You rest your arm over the back of the coach above Paul. This is nice. You've missed this.
He lasts until about quarter of 9 and then slowly starts to fade. His eyes slowly close and his head rocks back and forth, trying to keep balance. His head falls forward a few times, waking himself up, but by 9 Paul is out like a light.
You get up quietly, pick Paul up and bring him to bed. You tuck him in and shut the door. Once the door shuts the urges start in strong.
You don't like to drink when Paul is staying over, but he's asleep now. You went all day without having a drop. Nothing left to do, Paul is all set. You go to the kitchen, contemplating whether or not you will give in and drink. You open the fridge and steady your hand as you stare at the cans of beer on the top shelf. You want one so bad.
Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:37 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
You pick the beer up in your right hand and try to control your breathing. Your left hand is down by your side and you just realize that you are rubbing your finger tips with your thumb out of a nervous habit. You slowly exhale through your mouth.
This is ridiculous.
You aren't going to get drunk with Paul is sleeping over. You put the can back and then slightly slam the fridge door shut out of frustration. You go and sit back on the couch channel surfing. Nothing on.
You get up and peek on Paul. Still sleeping. Good.
You go to the bathroom and wash up a bit, brushing your teeth. You keep trying to keep your mind busy, but all you can think about is taking a little drink.
You walk back into the living room and look out the window. You watch as the cars go by on your street. A young couple is walking down the street with the girl holding onto her guy's arm with her head pressed against his shoulder.
You go back to the television and turn on whatever. You space out before realizing you are watching the news. Watching isn't the correct term. It's all background noise.
You get your laptop and check your email and all your normal stuff, just killing time. When you are done you figure it's close to bed time for you. It's gotta be close to midnight you look at the clock hanging on the wall.
You sigh and then decide to call it a night anyway. You're not tired. You're not going into your bed to sleep, you are running away.
You clean up your room and turn on the TV in your room. The noise helps you get to sleep. You can't stand total silence.
You sit down in bed and then spot a beer bottle on the floor. You nudge it with your foot so it rolls a bit. There is a little bit left in it. You should just clean your room up. You grab a paper bag, a crumbled up tissue, a crushed can of beer and throw them all in your trash can. Then you pick up the bottle, walk over to the trash and then take a quick swig of the remaining beer. It's nothing, just a few drops. You then drop the bottle in the trash and get back into bed.
There. Now the place looks better. Good.
You lay down watching the news. There is talk about the snow, the wars going on, some politician, some search, some sports, something else, and then it ends. You are more focused on getting to sleep. The Late Show comes on next and now you realize it's almost midnight.
You're still awake.
You get up to take a piss.
Then you go check on Paul again. Still asleep.
Your mouth is dry.
You go to the kitchen, get a glass and get some water. You open the fridge and take out a beer.
It's fine. Just one. You open it up and drink it. Only takes a few big sips. That hit the spot.
This is nothing. You can go through a six pack like nothing. To you, this is like a shot.
Now you start feeling better. You're in control. You keep drinking and then you start to get tired. See? It worked. You go back to your bedroom and lay down.
Next thing you know you hear a noise. You quickly sit up and the sun hits you right in the face blinding you. It stings your eyes. Where are your glasses? You get your bearings and look around, finding your glasses half open on the table. You put them on and then stand. The noise has to be Paul. You get up and go out to see.
Paul is in the kitchen pouring some cereal into a bowl.
Paul: Morning dad.
Jack: Morning kiddo.
You look at the time and see it's 10:46am. Damn. You then see there are three cans of beer on the floor, one on the counter and you quickly pick them up. Paul's already seen them obviously, but you are ashamed nonetheless. You throw them away and you think there are more at the bottom, but you don't bother to look.
You thought you only had like three or something.
Paul: Are we going to go to the park?
What the fuck is he talking about? Oh yeah. The park.
Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:58 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
Jack: Oh yeah, the park. Well did you finish your homework yet?
Paul: Oh come onnnnn...
You give him the typical stern look and tone of voice as he rolls his eyes.
Paul: I'll do it tonight.
Jack: Ok. That's fine. We'll go to the park another day.
Paul: Come on dad.
Jack: We're not going until I see all your work done.
Paulie sighs and takes his cereal out of the kitchen, heading towards his room. You close your eyes and tilt your head back, trying to clear your head, but all you feel is failure.
You clean up, take a shower, get dressed and then go into Paul's room. He's hard at work at his desk. You take his cereal bowl and peek over his shoulder at his paper.
Jack: Almost done?
Paul: Uh-huh. Can you help me with this last one?
You help Paul with the last problem, trying to walk him through it, but you basically do all the work with him watching. That's it, he's done.
Paul: Thanks. Can we go now?
Jack: Yeah let me just get ready and we'll go. Grab you stuff.
You go clean the dishes and grab your coat and baseball cap. Paul has his own and comes out carrying his glove, your glove, an aluminum bat and four balls. You can't help, but smile and chuckle at him trying to keep everything in his arms. A ball drops and then you take the load off his hands, leaving him with his bat. You leave your apartment and lock up. Paulie presses the elevator button and waits. The elevator arrives and you take it down to the first floor. As you are leaving the elevator, Paul runs his hand up all the buttons to the elevator, lighting them all up. He smiles with his top teeth hanging over his bottom lip, but you stop and look at him.
Jack: Hey. Don't do that.
Jack: No, it's not funny. Don't do it again.
Paul nods and heads outside first. You follow and notice it's a pretty nice day. He walks towards the car, using the bat like a cane. You get in, start the piece of crap up and start driving towards the field. You turn on the radio and change to the news.
Radio: ...with a high of 59. Sti-l n- ------ss on th- -ase of m----ng Mar-- ----s. The s-- ye-- --d g--l has been ------- --nce January 31st. In other news, talk of a government shutdown...
Finally got the signal in clear. Piece of shit radio. What you would give for a new car all together. You come to a red light and Paul is playing his game again. Man, he never stops.
You arrive at the park right after 12:30. You get out and walk with Paul down the hill getting on to the diamond. Lucky no one else is playing. You drop all the stuff down and put your glove on, pounding the center with your other hand, breaking it in.
Jack: Hey. Get out there.
You nod, signal Paul to go back and then toss the ball to him. He misses it, but picks it up out of the dirt and chucks it back at ya nicely. You go back and forth, playing catch for a while not saying a word. As you continue to play, Paul catches more and more. Finally you say...
Jack: Go long.
Paulie runs out towards right field and you crow hop forward, throwing the ball far. He tries to get under it, but it soars over his head. He picks it up and tries to throw it back, but it rolls towards you. Then Paul grabs the bat and stands at home. You pitch the ball to him and he misses a few, hits a few and then rips one pretty far. After a while you take turns at the bat and he fields the ball. You give him a few grounders and he backs off them.
Jack: Stay in front of it! Don't be afraid of the ball!
He does a little better, but then goes back to being afraid. You then send him to the outfield and send him some pop ups. You cut one to far left and it goes into some woods. Paul goes to get it and you wait. You look down, kicking the dirt, recalling how you liked playing ball back when you were a kid. After a little bit, you look out for Paul, but don't see him. You walk towards the trees and bushes, trying to spot Paul. He probably just can't find the ball. You stretch your neck out trying to spot him, but then see something move. What was that? It wasn't Paul. It was dark. Might have been an animal.
Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:50 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
You decide to go in and try to find Paul. You move to the left, where you think Paul went, keeping an eye on where you saw, whatever it was you saw.
You move some branches out of the way.
Well that's good. You follow his voice and find him on all fours, reaching into a bush.
Paul: Got it!
He stands back up with the baseball and smiles. The two of you go back out to the field and then decide to call it a day.
Jack: Ready to pack it in?
Paul: Yeah. Can we get lunch?
You and Paul get back to the car, dropping off all the gear and then walk over to the pizza place right down the street. You get a couple of slices and two sodas and eat at the small pizza parlor. When the you are both done, you get back in the car and stop off at the liquor store. You get a case of beer, figuring nothing too heavy. You also get Paul a candy bar at the checkout.
When you get back home and put the stuff away, Paul goes in his room to play video games. You go on your lap top and browse around, while the television plays in the background.
Later, you sit down with a bag of chips and watch some TV. You swallow a chip wrong and it scratches the back of your throat, making you take a coughing fit. As you are coughing, you get a call from Sarah.
Sarah: Hey. What time are you bringing Paul home?
You can't help, but cough. You check your watch and see that its 4:59pm.
You cough again.
Jack: ...about...six, six-thirty.
You cough again.
There is a long pause as you clear your throat.
Sarah: What's wrong?
Jack: Nothing I, uh, I just got a chip caught in my throat.
Sarah: You haven't been drinking have you?
Jack: What? No. Jesus Sarah, I just-
Sarah: He's only with you for two days. Can you put the bottle down long enough for-
Jack: Listen y-
You see Paul walk in, looking at you as he goes to the kitchen. You bite your tongue.
Jack: I'll be there in an hour, hour and a half.
You hang up on her and then follow Paul into the kitchen.
Jack: You almost ready to go?
Jack: Alright go pack up.
Paul goes to his room as you stand in the kitchen, trying to control your anger.
That bitch. Always has to think the worst of you. After everything you did for her, she thinks you're the world's biggest asshole.
You open up a can of beer and take two quick sips, just to tide you over. That always helps you keep your head. You don't want let Paul see you angry. Then again, you don't want to see you drinking...especially before you are about to drive. You quickly toss the can in the fridge and shut it.
You grab your coat and then go into Paul's room, where he is putting his PJ bottoms in his bag.
Jack: Ready to go?
Paul: Yeah, here.
Paul walks over and hands you a piece of paper.
Jack: What's this?
It's a crude painting of a tree, made up of a tall brown rectangle with some green circles. You think the green kind of looks like a thought bubble in comics.
Paul: The painting I told you about.
Jack: Oh this is pretty good. Nice Paul. My little artist.
He takes the painting back and smiles as he puts it back into his backpack. You walk over and get his coat for him. You help him put it on and then grab his bag. You leave and drive to Paul's house, chatting with Paul along the way. You pull up to the house and think about walking Paul to the door.
Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:07 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
You sigh and decide to chance an encounter with Sarah. You get out of the car with Paul and grab his bags.
Jack: All set?
You walk with Paul along the walkway towards the front step. Every time you make this walk, you can't help, but think about how this place used to be yours.
You always seemed to hate the little annoyances and the never ending fixes that it always had, but this was the only actual house you ever lived in. Now it's Sarah's home. Sarah's and Richard's. The only reason why you don't go ahead and burn it to the ground is because it's the house Paul will grow up in. He deserves a home this nice. You grew up in a small apartment with your single mother and big brother. Ma made it a fine place to live, but you always envied your friends big backyards. At least Paul has a yard to have all his friends over and play.
Before you can even reach the stoop, the door opens and Sarah is standing there. She smiles down at Paul, but you see right through her.
Paul: Hi mom.
Sarah: Heyyy. You finish your homework?
Sarah: Alright. Go put your stuff away.
Jack: Hey wait a second.
You stop Paul and turn him around as you kneel down and give him a hug. As you hug him goodbye, you look up at Sarah just giving you the evil eye.
Jack: Alright, I'll see you next week. Maybe we'll see that movie.
Paul: Okay. Bye dad.
Jack: I'll call you later.
You watch as Paul walks by Sarah as she pats him on the head as he passes by. You both wait until Paul is inside and heading up the stairs. You're about to turn around when Sarah snaps at you.
She keeps her voice down, but still has strong emphasis behind her already scolding words.
Sarah: Don't you hang up on me like you did today.
Jack: I didn't hang up on-
Sarah: Don't bullshit me Jack. I don't care what you do during the week, but when Paul's with you, he's your responsibility and if I call, I have the right to know exactly what is going on.
Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:33 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
Jack: You had no right to make assumptions that I was drunk.
Sarah: Oh, hardy-fucking-har Jack. I could flip a coin any day of the week to determine if you're shit faced at the moment or not. All I ask, is that you hold it together whenever Paul is around you.
Jack: I do. I-
Sarah: So as long as Paul is with you, your alcoholism is my business and I have every right to assume that you are not responsible enough to be with Paul.
By now, both of you have stopped keeping a low tone. Neither of you are shouting yet, but Sarah is clearly ready to turn this into a big spectacle. That fucking bitch always loves drama.
Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:37 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
You want to tell her to go fuck herself, but you think things through and try to calm down.
Sarah sees you trying to put the situation to rest and perhaps for the sake of Paul, she calms down too with a big sigh.
Sarah: Alright. Are you uh- going to talk about time off from work tomorrow?
Jack: Yeah. I'll see Scott either tomorrow or Tuesday and then I'll know for sure. I already told him I was watching Paul that week. I told him in plenty of time in advance.
Sarah: Good. Let me know when you do talk to him.
An awkward ending as you turn around and walk off. You're still expecting her to say something else. It's not like her to let things go. She always has to make a big deal out of every little thing. That's the real reason you broke up. She drove you to it.
You walk back to your car and head home. You are pretty pissed over the argument and having to back down, but it went a lot better than usual. How you would have loved to tell that bitch off. But there was always the risk of having Paul overhear. You won't risk that. He's seen enough fighting between his parents.
When you get home it's already pretty dark out. It is staying brighter longer though. You're glad winter's finally ending. You go up to your apartment and make a sandwich. You walk around eating it and just thinking about what to do. All you can think about doing is sleeping or drinking.
It's 8:00pm. You need to be at work at 5:30pm tomorrow.
Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:26 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
You go to the fridge, grab a beer and drink up. You turn the television on to ESPN. You don't care about watching anything, you just can't stand silence. Its easier for you to drink with a little background noise.
You drink until you decide its time for bed. You stagger to your room, taking "one of the road" with you. You take your shoes off and empty your pockets as you sit on the edge of your bed. As you take your phone out, you try to find the plug to the charger. God damn it! You can never find that thing. You reach around the table, searching for it and eventually think fuck it. You knock the shit off the table onto the floor out of frustration. You move the table out a bit and see that the plug is behind the table. You reach back and pull it up. You finally go to plug your cell in when you notice two new messages.
Should you bother to listen to them now or deal with them tomorrow? You look at who they are from. Dennis, your friend from work. Meh. He's cool and everything, but this could just be some bullshit you don't need to hear right now. The other message is from Lillian. Ah, Lillian. Your, somewhat girlfriend. Alright, you'll listen.
You type in your password and listen.
Dennis: It's Dennis. Gimmie a call when you get this, okay?
Alright, fuck you Dennis. That was worth it. Why even leave that message? You erase it and go on to the next one.
Lillian: Hey Jack, I was wondering if you wanted to meet me for lunch on my break tomorrow. I was thinking we could just grab a quick bite. Let me know. Bye.
You save the message and close your phone. You look at the time on your phone, but struggle to make out the numbers. It looks like it says "2am". Shit. Call her tomorrow. You put the phone down and charge it before drinking the last of your beer and laying down. Doesn't take you long to fall asleep.
You wake up the next morning at 10am. Your head is killing, but you are used to it for the most part. You get up, brush your teeth and take a shower, sobering up in the process.
You actually feel kind of good after the shower. Weird. You get dressed and turn on the news. Damn, it's gonna rain. All week almost.
You clean up the place and then remember that Lillian called. Lets see, its 11:02am, she has her lunch break at 12:15pm, that's enough time. Her job is only 15 minutes away. You decide to go.
You call her up as you continue to pick your apartment up just in case Lilly decides to come over.
Jack: Hey got your message. You still wanna grab something on your lunch break?
Lillian: Yeah sure.
Jack: I'll see ya then.
Lillian: Kay' bye.
Alright then. That's set. You drink a beer and decide to shave. When it's close to noon you leave and drive to the doctor's office where Lilly works.
You arrive just as Lillian is getting out of the front door. It's a tiny office with only one doc and she works the front desk. You watch as she walks over to the car, staring at her long black hair, eyeballing her down to her short skirt. You'd like it a little shorter, showing off those sexy legs, but you figure it has to be appropriate for the work place. She might give those old sick guys heart attacks if she dresses too sexy. Lil enters the passenger's seat of your crappy car and sits down. You notice as she sits she straightens her skirt out, so nothing shows. Bummer. Heh.
Lillian: Hey Jackie.
Jack: Hey Lilly.
Lillian: I was thinking that new sub shop up the street. Have you been there yet?
Jack: No. Have you?
Lillian: Yeah, once. It's pretty good.
You drive over to the sub shop and head in with Lillian. You order two subs with two sodas and pay for them both. You then grab a table to sit at and eat.
Lillian: So how was Paul?
Jack: He was good. We played a little ball. He was fine, but Sarah...ugh.
Lillian: She still giving you shit?
You answer by miming a gun shot to the head which makes Lillian chuckle.
Lillian: God is she ever gonna stop? What more does she want from you?
Jack: Yeah. So hows work going?
Lillian: Eh, its going. Had an old woman, first thing in the morning come in...
Lillian: ...and she said she had an appointment, but when I checked, she was over an hour early. So I tell her and she goes "What?!". I say "You don't have an appointment until 10:15." and she goes just like this, "What?!"
Lil puts a hand to her ear, mocking the elderly woman. At this point you nod your head, but the television in the corner of the restaurant catches your attention. You try to read something at the bottom of the screen that looks like a special alert. Its just small scrolling text, so it's hard to make out from this distance. You try to listen to the news lady, but the volume is pretty low as well. At the same time, you pretend to listen to Lillian's story.
Lillian: ...."What?!" and I am just dying already, so I don't know what to do with her. I...
...and plenty of water. Marie Reyes has now...
Lillian: So I just knew that wasn't a good indication of my day.
Forget it. You're pretty sure its just a storm warning. No rain yet, but its pretty cloudy and grey out. Lillian sighs and you reply to keep up the image that you were listening. You shake your head back and forth, smirking and give a soft response.
You finish your lunch with Lillian and talk some more before driving her back to her job. Before she gets out she smiles at you.
Lillian: Well thanks for lunch.
Jack: My pleasure.
Lillian: So I'm off Friday. You wanna do something?
Jack: Yeah sure. I can get out early Thursday night maybe.
Lillian: Yeah. I'll see ya.
Lillian leans in and you kiss her with a nice little peck on the lips.
She exits your car and heads back to work and you're off. You head back home.
You watch some TV and get into your security uniform for work. You kill time by going on the computer and surfing around.
You leave for work and arrive a few minutes early at 5:19pm. The hospital does not seem too busy tonight. You go to your post and meet up with Felix, the security guard who works the shift before you. You never really got to know him, but he seems like a good enough guy. Pretty fat though.
Felix: Hey Jack. Hows it going?
Jack: Eh. Hows work?
Felix: Slow day.
Jack: Dennis here yet?
Felix: Haven't seen him.
Felix puts on his coat and hat and heads to the exit.
Felix: See ya later Jack.
Jack: Yeah, later.
Felix leaves and you put your "utility belt" on. You always check your walkie-talkie before you start. All set. You go to your post at the emergency ward and just stand there watching people come and go for an hour. Then you take a leak before returning to your position.
Later that night, you change position and take over the main entrance of the hospital. At night this entrance is always dead. The most you ever come across is some sick person looking for the emergency entrance. Its a lot easier then dealing with overnight patients or any other section.
It starts to rain outside.
As you walk the abandoned halls you are alone with your thoughts. You could really use a drink right now, but what are you going to do? There's no way you're going to get caught drinking on the job. Scott would fire you on the first offense. Oh yeah, you need to see Scott about taking that week off to watch Paul. That should be pretty good to have Paul all that time. Maybe you can really spend some quality time with him. That will be the longest you'll be with him since the divorce nine months ago. Getting up and driving him to school sure will suck, but it's worth it. It will be like old times.
As you reach the elevators at the end of the corridor you hear someone walking around the corner. Probably a patient or the janitor. You look and see that its Dennis. He's supposed to be working security on the third floor.
Dennis: Hey Jackie Boy.
Jack: What's up Dennis?
Dennis: Heading to the vending machine real quick.
Jack: What's wrong with the vending machines on the third floor?
Dennis: They don't have any with turkey club sandwiches.
Dennis heads towards the vending machines near the entrance as you accompany him.
Dennis: You get my call the other day?
Dennis: Well then why didn't ya call me?
Jack: Eh, I got it at like three in the morning and forgot. Why? What did ya want?
Dennis: You remember Eddy?
Jack: Uhhhhh Eddy? Is that the guy who worked here for like a week?
Dennis: No. You met him when we went out drinking last month?
You think back, but its not really coming back to you. You remember going out with Dennis to that bar. You kind of recall meeting someone, but the memory is pretty fuzzy. You got hammered that night. You even ended up sleeping on Dennis' couch.
Dennis: Well he's throwing a poker night Saturday night. Figured you might want in.
Jack: I got my kid on the weekend.
Dennis: Bring him. He can watch TV or something. I'm just trying to get you out man. You spend too much time all cooped up in that cave of yours.
Dennis gets his sandwich and then his walkie goes off.
Scott: Dennis, where are you? Over.
Dennis rolls his eyes and sighs as he answers.
Dennis: I'm just getting back from taking a piss. Why? Is there a problem?
Scott: Unruly patient at west entrance on your floor. Probably nothing, but just keep an eye on it. Over.
Dennis: Yeah, that's a big 10-4.
He holsters his walkie-talkie and heads off.
Dennis: Fucking fun man. See ya.
He takes off and you head back to the main doors. Some time passes by and then you get a call from Scott over the radio.
Scott: Jack, come in. Over.
Jack: This is Jack.
Scott: Are you at the main entrance? Over.
Jack: Yeah, I'm standing right here.
Scott: Can you take a look at the drain outside? Over.
Jack: Yeah. You mean the one that kept getting clogged last time it rained?
Scott: Yeah. I just need to know if we gotta send someone to fix it again. Over.
Jack: I'm on it.
You unlock the door to the main entrance and head outside in the rain. This is bullshit. This should be the janitor's job or maintenance or someone. Now you have to get soaked.
You head out and walk a little ways to where the drain is. It's down some stairs at an entrance to a boiler room or something. You've never been in there. The drain is fine so you call it in to Scott and head back inside. As you walk up, you look out at the cars driving down the street and the big splashes they are making when they drive over a puddle. You remember that time you got hit with one of those splashes and totally drenched. Then you see something. It's someone running. A woman. She's waving her hand in the air too.
Is she screaming? It sounds like shes speaking Spanish or some other language. You watch as she heads towards you. Shes saying something. You can't make it out. You stand there watching and think about if you should check on her. She running towards the hospital it looks like. Where did she come from? Was it the CVS across the street? Did she come from the woods? You don't see any car crash or anything. The mystrious woman is getting closer. Shes got to be running towards the hospital. You head the sidewalk to meet her. Once she reaches the curb that's considered the hospital's grounds and your jurisdiction. She runs across the street without looking.
Unknown Woman: Ayuda!
What the hell? Is she crazy? She's going to get herself-
The woman is hit by a car! She rolled on to the hood and then fell off. The car's breaks screech as it stops up ahead. A car coming the opposite way stops as you put your hand out and then you rush over to her. You reach her and kneel down. This is the first time you've ever seen anyone get hit by a car. She has a big gash on her cheek. There's blood coming out of her torso, but it's dark and you can't figure out where it's coming from.
She is still alive. Her eyes are wide open as she is rocking her head back and forth. You try and comfort her as you fumble around your for walkie talkie.
Jack: It's okay. It's okay.
You use your radio.
Jack: THIS IS JACK! A WOMAN JUST GOT HIT BY A CAR HEADING TOWARDS THE HOSPITAL! I need help NOW! It's on Washington Street!
Your heart is beating like crazy as you wait for a response. Cars are stopping on the road. A few people are standing on sidewalk. You just try and keep her conscious. Scott responds over the radio.
Scott: This is Scott. I'm on my way and I alerted the paramedics. Over.
You take your security jacket off to cover the poor woman, placing it on her chest. Her eyes are looking straight up to the sky as her head is rolling right to left, back and forth. You try to hold her head still and get her to stop shaking.
Jack: It's okay. Helps coming. It's okay.
You're not sure if she can hear you. She looks out of it. She is saying something. Her voice is very soft, but she is definitely saying something.
Unknown Woman: Car-uh-suh-suh-suh-suh...
Jack: Just relax. Help is on the way.
Unknown Woman: Suh-see-see-seen-car-ca-car-a-seen-car...
Jack: "Car"? Don't worry. You're going to be alright ma'am.
You have no clue how she is going to be. She just keeps shaking her head and stuttering.
Unknown Woman: See-Sin-Seen-Caaaah....
Her voice fades away as he head stops moving. Her head slowly stops as it falls looking away from you. Her body goes limp.
Jack: Ma'am? Ma'am can you hear me?
The driver that hit her finally walks over. He's an old man.
Driver: Oh my God...
You look for a pulse, but can't feel anything. Two medics run over and start to check her. You stand and move out of the way as they work.
Medic: No pulse.
The medics do their job, trying to help her as you stand with your head in a fog. You look around. It's a fucking spectacle. The old man who hit her is saying something. There are about ten cars stopped and most of the people are standing outside watching the scene. A woman rushes over and bumps your shoulder to watch. There are so many people. Across the street there is a group of guys are coming out of CVS. A homeless man with a shopping cart watches from the parking lot. Two young women with umbrellas stand in front of the woods with their hands covering their mouths. A guy in a trench coat is talking on the phone as he slowly approaches. A man in a suit stands behind the two young ladies watching. A biker pulls over on his chopper looking right at you. An ambulance's sirens begin to go off from a distance. The rain is getting everyone wet. You feel dizzy from it all.
Dennis: Jack? You alright man?
You look at Dennis and you can tell by his expression that he is worried about you. He looks down at the woman as the ambulance pulls up. Scott walks over.
Scott: Shit. Come on. We gotta get back.
Scott and Dennis head back towards the hospital as you just follow. A police car is pulling up.
Dennis: What happened?
Jack: She got hit by a car.
Dennis: Did you see it happen?
Jack: Yeah, she was running across the street yelling.
Dennis: Fuck man.
You head back inside and talk about it, but your head is still spinning. After a while Scott makes Dennis return to his post and talks with you about it. Eventually a police officer walks over. Scott lets him in.
Cop: Are you the guard that saw the accident?
Scott: No, he did.
Scott points the cop over to you.
Cop: Can you answer a few questions about the accident?
Jack: Yeah, sure.
You describe it like it happened. The woman was yelling and screaming and then ran across the street. It wasn't the driver's fault. He asks you a bunch of questions and you answer them. You then tell the officer that she was saying something.
Jack: After she was hit she kept trying to say something. I couldn't make it out, but it sounded like she saw the car coming or something.
Cop: Did she?
Jack: No, I don't think so. She was saying "car seen" though.
He takes a bunch of notes and then gives you his card. He says that they will contact you if they have any further questions. When you are done Scott tells you to head home and sleep, so you do. You drive home replaying the scene over and over and over again in your head.
By the time you get in it's 2am. You usually get off around 1am or 1:30am. You don't know if you can sleep. Your mind won't stop racing.
Sun May 01, 2011 12:39 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
You take your jacket and hat off and toss it on the couch before pacing back and forth just trying to think about what you should think about. That's crazy. You have to relax. You go to the window and lean over looking at how dead it is out. The only noticeable activity outside is the rain. You stand there at the window for a short while watching a rain drop slowly sliding down your window towards the bottom. You focus on the rain drop's trail it left behind and then realize that sitting around won't help you. You need to go out and take a walk. Clear your head.
You grab your work coat, but then think about the rain. Your umbrella broke a while ago and you never did get around to replacing it. You go to the closet, take out your rain coat and go outside.
If it weren't for the sound of the heavy rain the streets would probably be quiet. You take a right and just start walking. You can't stop replaying the accident. You see the woman's face in your head and hear what she was trying to say. "A seen car. A seen car." Was it broken English or something?
You walk by a drug store that is still open with a flickering blue neon sign. You never knew they were open this late. You then look at one of those bus stops with the covered seats. There is graffiti on the clear hard plastic outing. You can't read that. Right next to that is a map of all the bus and train routes. At the end is a advertisement poster for "Rango". Isn't that the one Paul wanted to see? Yeah. You need to save up for that. As you approach the bus stop a car drives by splashing the sidewalk. You watch it drive off and as your head follows the bright red taillights, you notice across the street, someone is just standing there. It's too dark to get a good look, but they look pretty tall. They look like they are facing you. No, it looks like they are watching you. You just keep walking as they are still some ways away, but why would he or she just be standing out in the middle of the pouring rain? You get a little closer and the figure has yet to move. It's really tall, maybe it's not a person. No. No, that's a guy. His face is shrouded in the shadows produced by the street light.
Fri May 13, 2011 11:57 pm
Joined: 25 Feb 2011 Posts: 656
There is something about this that doesn't seem safe. Its late anyways, you decide to turn around and head back home.
You worry about looking suspicious for just turning around, but then realize how ridiculous that is. That guy could have been anyone. A drunk, a bum, a drug dealer, a mugger. It doesn't matter. You look over your shoulder and he is still there. He is watching you. What the fuck? Now you are hoping that he doesn't follow you.
You walk home picking up the pace and turn the corner onto your street. You keep checking over your shoulder and there is no sign of him. See? You just spooked yourself. You see three guys walking down the other side of the street and that gives you a safer feeling as well. They just look like college kids, but at least they are not just standing there, watching you. At least someone else is around.
You get home and go up the stairs, back into your apartment. You take a deep breath as you feel a lot better now. You've even managed to forget about the accident for a little while. You should be thanking that creep.
You get undressed and then lay down. It's just turning 3am now. You always hate being up at 3. It just gives you a bad feeling that you are up too late and won't be able to get any rest. Luckily, it's not long before you fall asleep.
You awaken the next morning around 11. The first thing that pops into your mind isn't the accident, but that staring guy. Then you remember the accident. What a fucking night.
You get up, eat a waffle, watch the end of the news and then wash up. After you get dressed you think about what to do for the day before work.
Sun May 15, 2011 9:25 am
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